Questions tagged [advanced-propulsion]

Questions on spacecraft propulsion techniques that are either theoretical or not yet at a high technology readiness level.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
12
votes
8answers
4k views

Is it possible to get a spacecraft into earth orbit using Linear Eddy Current Braking on an orbital runway?

The "Space Runway" [I have slightly edited this to clarify some issues that have been raised] Luke Parrish mentioned an unusual and novel space launch method to me. The idea is to get a spacecraft ...
3
votes
1answer
65 views

Cooling the nozzle extension of a nuclear salt water rocket (NSWR)

The nuclear salt water rocket(NSWR) uses a plutonium salt (at least to my understanding) dissolved in water as its fuel. The mixture is kept stable by filling the fuel tank with boron carbide, which ...
4
votes
2answers
144 views

Using lasers to reach the Karman line

I've just seen this Anton Petrov video: New Type of Laser Levitation Could Help Us Explore the Mesosphere. It's about this new form of levitation that uses lasers to heat up the air underneath a craft,...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What kind of engine does this Isp = 1600 refer to? Is it cubesat-friendly?

These two good answers (one and two) to the question "Is there a maximum Isp for 'exothermic chemical reaction rockets?'" put the limits around 500-550 seconds for the limits of practical ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Which theoretical propulsion system has the highest specific impulse?

I know that NERVA physically demonstrated 811 seconds, and the theoretical range for Orion was around 10,000. After stipulating that we can't really know for sure until it's built, given plausible ...
4
votes
1answer
97 views

What is the limit on ISP for cooled physical nozzles — and how hard is it?

High performance chemical rockets, as well as hypothetical gas-core nuclear thermal rockets, can operate with chamber temperatures above the failure point of any available substance, because internal ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

What are the practical limits of a rocket that receives propellant from the surface?

The Orion spacecraft was supposed to be propelled by igniting nuclear bombs behind it. Its proponents successfully demonstrated the concept using conventional explosives, on a small scale, for a few ...
4
votes
1answer
536 views

How efficient and fast would seven Caplan thrusters be at pushing the Sun and would it be worth building more than one?

I was thinking about stellar engines. One type of stellar engine is the Caplan thruster, which concentrates the star's light onto the star's surface to create beams of solar wind, which are collected ...
7
votes
1answer
749 views

Is the propulsion for the Scorpion nuclear-thermal-electric ship concept viable and credible?

Recently I've come across the proposal for the "Scorpion" spacecraft -- I originally ran across it on Project Rho (ctrl-F for it) but it looks like the article was published in the journal ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Is “nuclear electrothermal” a recognized term for a specific technology?

Is the term "nuclear electrothermal" recognized as referring to a specific type of propulsion technology (specifically, the nuclear thermal rocket with heat engine and arcjet afterburner)?
6
votes
3answers
497 views

What is our ability to capture or reflect photons with a wavelength of $2.5×10^{-12}$ meters?

Can we efficiently reflect or capture photons of that wavelength? More precisely, $ 2.426×10^{-12} $ meters, or $ 1.236 × 10^{20} Hz$ Preferably reflect, but capture followed by re-emission as ...
2
votes
2answers
122 views

Using heated water as propellant for a DT-He3 fusion thruster

Not sure if this would be best placed here or in World building SE, but I'll try here. Let's say I have a Dueterium-Helium 3 fusion pulse engine (similar to what is in the Expanse) that will use ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

Injectors Diameter and Numbers

how would you determine the diameter and the number of injectors if unlike doublets elements are used? The Data given is: Isp =286 s Chamber pressure= 25 bars Propellant pair: Fuel= Hydrazine and ...
0
votes
1answer
193 views

Continuous staging? [closed]

In industrial chemistry it's well known (Armagnac vs. Cognac) that continuous processes are more efficient than batch processes. In-game microtransactions have competed so favorably with just ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Teleporting an object into geosynchronous orbit

Assuming that a method was found to teleport objects, and at huge range, if an object was teleported from the surface to a location at the correct height (Wikipedia says about 42,164 km from the earth'...
2
votes
2answers
291 views

Would a nuclear turbojet with a chemical afterburner be a suitable intermediate between a pure nuclear turbojet and a nuclear thermal rocket?

NOTE: This is not the place to question the fundamental viability of nuclear propulsion in aircraft and spacecraft. For context, in a spaceplane, the higher speeds you can attain under air-breathing ...
32
votes
4answers
4k views

Is warp drive a legitimate avenue of scientific investigation?

I've been reading a number of online "pop-sci" articles on the subject of "warp drive" - derived from work done initially by Alcubierre. Some of the most recent articles say that there are ...
5
votes
1answer
426 views

Could the helical engine work?

A helical engine is originally described in this NASA Paper; see also the youtube explanation by Anton Petrov The problem may be with powering the device. The original paper uses ions in a toroid to ...
27
votes
8answers
18k views

Why aren't linear aerospike engines in common use?

Linear aerospike engines are an old idea that seem so full of promise. Why are they not widely used today by the likes of Boeing, SpaceX, etc.?
4
votes
1answer
212 views

Which space drive concept would likely be most suitable for Interplanetary travel?

Of the several concepts of space propulsion drives listed for interplanetary launch, travel, and landings, which one should I research? Or is a good ole-fashioned ion drive adequate? Assume that all ...
-3
votes
1answer
142 views

A question about the feasibility of the Casimir propulsion system [closed]

There is a connection between vacuum energy density and the Casimir effect , see : https://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0204125 Another reference can be found here: https://aapt.scitation.org/doi/10.1119/...
2
votes
2answers
480 views

Does a feasible high thrust high specific impulse engine exist using current non space technology?

What I mean is an engine whose thrust is on the order of tens to hundreds of Newtons with an ISP "well" above that of chemical engines. I don't require this engine to be space ready - if it has to ...
2
votes
5answers
883 views

What is the most energy efficient & inexpensive propulsion system other than chemical fuel oxidizer that could be used in rockets?

I have read ionic/plasma propulsion system don't provide enough thrust to even lift themselves in Earth's atmosphere & photonic beamed propulsion is not in application yet so there any other ...
8
votes
3answers
450 views

Harpoon propulsion - what would be the problems?

Let's imagine we have finally developed buckytube rope. A couple hundred kilometers of rope, able to tug a 100-ton craft at 6g acceleration, in a package packable on said craft. A near-earth asteroid ...
0
votes
1answer
162 views

Exit pressure value for vacuum nozzle [duplicate]

What value of exit pressure should I use in the design equations for a small liquid rocket engine nozzle for 200km-500km operating conditions? Since using zero as a value is not possible or else ...
9
votes
1answer
676 views

Current Research Being Done on Hall Effect Thrusters

It seems like electric propulsion will be the most viable candidate for current and future interplanetary missions. However, I was wondering what type of research is currently being done on Hall ...
8
votes
3answers
408 views

Burn 1st stage structural material as fuel?

Aluminum/Magnesium alloys can burn quite nicely. The stoichiometry is favoriable. Instead of $CO_2$ which is mostly oxidizer by mass, you might end up with $Al_2O_3$ and $MgO$ as exhaust. The ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Pumped propellant propulsion - is it viable?

A recent article on Slashdot got me thinking. While the article is about using electric turbopumps for moving fuel from tanks to engines during launch phase and is just a small, incremental ...
1
vote
1answer
248 views

Could a spacecraft be propelled by a 180 degree deflection of two charged particle beams?

I am wondering if the electrostatic deflection of two charged particle beams could create enough thrust, via the Lorentz Force, to propel a spacecraft. Please reference the picture below. This ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

What could be the proprietary propellant blend that “Apollo Fusion” claims to have developed for it's hall effect thrusters?

According to the info posted on the Apollo fusion website http://apollofusion.com/ , they claim to use a propellant blend that offers " 2-3 X more impulse per mass and volume" in comparison towards ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Alcubierre Drive and interacting with matter

What would happen when there is the warping of space occupied by matter? For example, if there is a ship propelled by the Alcubierre Drive, what would happen if it collided with something with mass? ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What would be the specific impulse of a continuous nuclear fusion drive?

Let's assume problems of running sustained nuclear fusion are overcome (be it by making the mechanism highly energy-positive, or just supplying all the energy deficit externally, like beamed power.) ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

What will be the best way to convert nuclear fusion energy into thrust for a rocket?

Best means maximum thrust, safest, easy to maintain. And it's not opinion based because I'm looking for a way that's theoretically feasible and may be practical in a few years. However, if you have an ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How does the Sabre engine's pre-cooler achieve such high performance?

The BBC News article Rolls-Royce and Boeing invest in UK space engine about Reaction Engines Limited (REL) and its Sabre engine states REL is developing what it calls the Sabre engine. This power ...
3
votes
0answers
124 views

Are there any situations where hot rather than cold propellants might be advantageous?

Given that cryogenic fuel and oxidisers exist, I wonder if the reverse is workable. Are there fuels or oxidisers that have been considered for rockets that must be kept hot to be usable? By hot I ...
3
votes
5answers
419 views

Could fuel be “hosed” (pumped) from the ground to a launcher?

Most fuel on board a launcher is used during the first couple of minutes. Most of the propellant is needed to carry other propellant. For example, Saturn V (kerosene) and Delta IV (hydrogen) use about ...
4
votes
1answer
609 views

Cost Estimation of Satellite propulsion systems

As part of my research project, i am evaluating various satellite propulsion systems. Are there any databases or forums where the ROM cost of a Satellite propulsion system is listed. A few new space ...
0
votes
0answers
34 views

How can a nuclear spacecraft be in compliance with the Test Ban Treaty? [duplicate]

Specifically, a nuclear fusion rocket. And no pulse propulsion, because I know doing that will be very hard.
11
votes
2answers
5k views

Solar sail thrust calculation

In Space Mission Engineering: The new SMAD, page 555, section 18.7.2, the following thrust formula is given for a solar sail: $$F=\frac{2RSA}{c}\sin^2\theta=9.113\times10^{-6}\frac{RA}{D^2}\sin^2\...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Using Earth's magnetic field for an electric propulsion system

If you were to use a spacecraft built of copper in Earth's magnetic field, could you produce enough energy to propel yourself?
5
votes
0answers
118 views

What aerothermal effects present significant challenges in supersonic retropropulsion?

One of NASA's plans for future mars entry, descent and landing missions includes an ambitious deceleration process involving retropropulsion in a supersonic airflow environment. I know that previous ...
4
votes
0answers
111 views

Electromagnetic engines in heavy radiation regions

What sorts of peculiarities might affect an electromagnetic rocket (VASIMR or Magneto-Inertial Fusion) crossing Jupiter's radiation belts? Could all of that energy fry a magnetic thrust chamber and ...
2
votes
2answers
194 views

Antimatter fuel compartment

Antimatter is theoretically an excellent fuel, providing large thrust/mass ratio and very efficient energy transfer. Therefore, we wouldn't need to use a lot of it to achieve similar thrusts that ...
4
votes
3answers
663 views

EmDrive compared to flashlight in space

From my (basic) understanding the most impressive thing about the EmDrive is it violates Newton's third law. No propellant is needed, nothing is jettisoned away, yet it, allegedly, accelerates in a ...
12
votes
1answer
5k views

What are the most promising non chemical rocket space launch approaches?

I read this essay by Neal Stephenson recently, which makes the case that, had we not been locked-into chemical rocket technology through years of investments, other approaches might have been more ...
3
votes
1answer
851 views

Inertialess Drive?

I was reading this article about an "EmDrive" recently. The article suggests that we've just been looking at the problem the wrong way all along, which sounds either like genius or lunacy. What ...
5
votes
2answers
976 views

Does the detection of gravitational waves prove we can travel faster than the speed of light?

From what I have read gravitational waves cannot travel faster than the speed of light. And since gravitational waves are part of the fabric of space, wouldn't that disprove the idea behind an ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Could cosmic rays be produced by alien propulsion systems?

Could the cosmic radiation of heavy ions which hit us be the exhaust of advanced electric propulsion used by alien space travelers? While supernovae seem to cause part of them, much of it is far from ...
5
votes
3answers
247 views

What would be the challenges of a non-rotating tether orbiting the Moon?

There are examinations of lunar tethers going through the EML1 point, and rotating tethers in various orbits of the Moon. But I haven't seen an examination of a tether in orbit that doesn't rotate. ...
4
votes
0answers
119 views

What does a high Hall Effect Parameter mean in MPD thrusters?

MagnetoPlasmaDynamic Thrusters are plasma thrusters in which the acceleration of the fluid (plasma) is carried in a electromagnetic way. The electric field and the lorentz force are the primary causes ...